What Mets’ new hitting coach wants from struggling lineup

ATLANTA — As the Mets struggle to elevate their offensive production to a respectable level, hitting coach Hugh Quattlebaum wants his crew to stay patient.

The Mets entered play 29th in MLB in scoring, averaging 3.6 runs per game — only the Pirates were behind them. Quattlebaum was asked Wednesday about his confidence level the Mets would soon average four-plus runs consistently.

“That is being results minded and that is what we don’t want to be right now,” Quattlebaum said before the Mets faced the Braves at Truist Park. “When the results aren’t what you want them to be, that is what this game, everything on that [scoreboard] wants to yank you to results, and that is not what we want to be right now.”

Quattlebaum, who replaced Chili Davis as hitting coach on May 4, has presided over a banged-up lineup that hasn’t been whole during his tenure. Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil each missed over a month with hamstring injuries and just returned to the lineup in the last week to 10 days. Two other starters, Brandon Nimmo and J.D. Davis, are on rehab assignments with Triple-A Syracuse.

Hugh Quattlebaum
Hugh Quattlebaum
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

But it hasn’t been just injuries that have derailed the Mets, as players such as Francisco Lindor, Dominic Smith and James McCann have failed to live up to their reputations offensively. McNeil and Conforto have also struggled when healthy.

“Most of the lineup probably doesn’t feel as good as they have felt in their career,” Quattlebaum said. “When you don’t have anybody that feels like they are clicking, you are paying more attention to the results and you are distracted a little bit more and distractions when you are in the box, maybe mechanics creep in a little bit more because you want to feel this or that. It’s just generally the place you don’t want to be.

“The biggest thing for us is we’re focused on the process. Not just what is going to work in the next 24 minutes, 24 hours, but what gives us the best chance for sustained success through the rest of this year.”

The Mets had a .688 OPS under Davis’ guidance for 23 games. That number had dropped to .676 entering Wednesday.

But acting general manager Zack Scott reached the decision to fire Davis and assistant hitting coach Tom Slater based on the team’s approach, opting to move in a more analytically based direction.

“I am really pleased with the process that is going on behind the scenes,” Scott said. “The way I look at a hitting coach’s job or their process is when things aren’t going right, identify what’s not going right, be able to communicate that and come up with the right drills to get the player back on track.

“But it’s also the player then needs to make those adjustments. You can’t do it for them. You can set them up for success to get there, but they have to be able to do it and sometimes it’s a feel thing and they can’t get into that feel they have had when they know they have been better.”

Quattlebaum said much of the Mets’ process involves game-planning how to attack opposing pitchers.

“And it’s not easy,” he said. “You can’t have one blanket approach for guys that are eight, nine different individuals. Getting good at individualizing an approach that matches up with the arm you are going to see each night for each and every guy, that’s hard. But also you have to have a team approach that can wear guys out.”

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